Training camp battle: Gafford vs. Jansen

Winner of long snapper competition replaces veteran Davis

While the news of Brett Favre's retirement and possible return has grabbed the attention of the sports world this spring and summer, 39-year-old Rob Davis's retirement from football was met with little fanfare. However, Davis's absence on the roster shouldn't be taken lightly. He was as consistent as the sun rising each day for more than 10 seasons for the Packers.

To replace Davis, the Packers will turn to either Thomas Gafford or J.J. Jansen - whoever performs best in training camp - to snap the ball for punts, field goal attempts and extra points. If either Gafford or Jansen make the final roster and suit up for the season opener on Sept. 8, it will be their first regular season game.

"You just work on the timing and trust that it's going to be there every time, and go with it," said kicker Mason Crosby during the team's June minicamp. "Both of these guys here are doing a great job, and it's one of those things, every day you have to work it a few times to make sure the timing is there. That's all it is. I have the end part but there's a lot that goes into it before I kick the ball."

Gafford was signed in early March by the Packers. He was in Green Bay's training camp in 2006 before he was released. He was in Seattle's training camp last year, then released and out of football.

Jansen was signed as a rookie free agent out of Notre Dame after April's NFL draft by the Packers. He became the long snapper for the Irish midway through his sophomore season, appearing in the final 32 games of his career. He made eight career tackles as a member of the punt coverage unit.

Jansen reportedly received high marks for his handiwork on snaps at Notre Dame, so he may have the edge on Gafford heading into training camp.

Since both players are relatively unknown, this battle will unfold with each day the Packers practice. How both Gafford and Jansen perform during preseason game situations also will determine their fate with the team.

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